With your (now postponed) standard X board exams prep going on, another pressing question that must be in your mind would be regarding your next two years. Which board should I go for? Shall I stick with CBSE/ISC, or should I shift to IB? How would that affect my grades and my future college application? Well, we’re here to answer that!
Firstly, let’s understand what IB is. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or IBDP, is an educational programme devised in Geneva in the 1960s for students aged 16-19. It aims to provide students with an overall holistic education with equal emphasis on sciences and humanities, with a special focus on epistemology (i.e. ‘study of knowledge’). Developed by few of the world’s top educators, IBDP is taught in over 140 countries around the world, and 146 schools in India that teach the IBDP curriculum.
We shall try to answer some of the questions that you may have while choosing between the curricula.
How is IB different from CBSE in terms of the curriculum?
As mentioned above, IBDP focuses on holistic learning with an equal focus on all subjects, rather than asking students to study just one stream, i.e. sciences, commerce or humanities. All students have to choose between one subject from six groups. This enables students to study a diverse range and combinations of subjects. Among these six subjects, mathematics and one science subject are compulsory.
The syllabus is also different from CBSE, as it contains a mix of essential readings and recommended readings. Another unique aspect of the IBDP is “Theory of Knowledge” (TOK), which is an epistemological subject. This pushes students to learn about the subject in detail, something that is not taught in other curricula, and prepares students for college education.
What is the marking scheme?
Every subject is marked out of 7, and with six subjects, the total points are calculated out of 42. Additionally, 3 points are awarded for Extended Essay, which is like a mini-thesis that students write in one of the subjects, and Theory of Knowledge (Epistemology).
Are there any mandatory subjects?
Yes. All students are required to take Mathematics as a subject, along with any one of the science subjects, English, and one more language. They also have to take up the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. The subjects can be either Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL). Students need to take at least 3 HL subjects.
Is coping up with IB tough?
Yes, coping with IB can be challenging as there are multiple things happening at the same time. These include six subjects with internal and external assessments and the Extended Essay. IB students also have to fulfil the requirement of CAS (Creativity, Action, Service), whereby students take part in activities alongside their academic studies. While this is not formally assessed, it is mandatory for all students to take part in the CAS. CAS demonstrates the student’s ability to take initiative and work out of their comfort zone. This with their personal development, and also assists with the admissions process.
How do the examiners evaluate?
While CBSE places focus on students’ ability to memorize and recall concepts, IB examiners assess the students’ ability to understand, explore, analyze and apply concepts. Under IBDP, students are encouraged to explore and engage in external readings.
Does IB encourage us to ask questions in class?
Yes, totally. Even the format of the questions in many exams is more like a discussion where you have to give both sides of the argument. Thus, asking questions is highly recommended as you can learn about different perspectives.
Is the study textbook-based, or do I need to do extra readings?
You don’t need to but it’s recommended as IB doesn’t prescribe any books. You have the opportunity to explore out of the syllabus and learn new things. Examiners appreciate if you write higher-level concepts.
How do I decide which one is right for me?
Depends on the kind of learner you are, whether you like sticking to the prescribed syllabus or going outside the syllabus. Even though IB is tougher, some people do really well in IB it opens up to take creative inquiries into the subject and going beyond the books. If you are the kind of learner who likes to explore the subject in-depth, IBDP is just the right thing for you!
What are the future prospects? What do universities and colleges look at?
If you plan to go in for Oxford, Cambridge, LSE or other top universities applications, it is recommended that you go ahead with IBDP. These universities understand the rigorous IBDP curriculum and know that the student would be prepared for college. If you decide to stick to CBSE/ISC, it is recommended that you take AP exams additionally.
These points should help you decide which curriculum to go for. We understand that IBDP can be challenging, especially for someone shifting from CBSE/ISC, and Rostrum is here to help you with that! We offer IB tutoring with a network of one of the best IB tutors in India.